During the Renaissance period, there were many ties between the goldsmithing and fine art fields. A large number of well-known Italian artists, Antonio Pollaiulo and Boticelli for example, began their careers as goldsmiths. This brought a precision and superlative comprehension of drawing to their subsequent employment as painters. In a similar vein, some Renaissance artists designed jewels, Albrecht Drer (1471-1528) and Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543) being the most famous. The latter was particularly active in England under the patronage of Henry VIII.
Circa 1860, there was a revival of Renaissance jewellery styles in England, into which category the present pendant fits perfectly. Those referred to as "Holbeinesque" were primarily pendants, often set to the centre with a carbuncle. Alternatively, more lavish examples, such as this one, incorporated precious stones. The finer pieces, of which this pendant is typical, were engraved to the reverse. It is necessary to mention that "Holbeinesque" jewels did not borrow directly from the painter's designs.
The most famous example of the "Holbeinesque" fashion is probably the Devonshire Parure, created by C.F. Hancock for the Countess of Granville who wore it at the coronation of Tsar Alexander II in 1856.